What is eLearning?

Listen with webreader

Of course you already know that eLearning is a compound word, formed from electronic and learning.  But that isn’t much of a definition.

So, let’s define eLearning as:

An electronic version of the best class you ever took.

It should not be an electronic version of the most boring lecture you ever suffered through!

My high school math teacher, Mrs. Wever, stood on her desk and tap-danced while she sang geometry theorems to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy.  It’s hard to fall asleep or daydream in class when your teacher is doing things like that.  Putting difficult-to-remember concepts to music also helps the human brain remember them…ever wonder why you can remember all of the lyrics to songs you don’t even like, but you can’t remember the action items from yesterday’s staff meeting?  If you sang the action items, you’d be more likely to remember them…

Luckily, technology allows all of us to present even difficult and boring (to some) topics like geometry, in an interesting and indelible manner without dancing on our desks.  With electronic learning, it is possible to create a virtual classroom by blending the critical elements of learning: a text book, a singing and dancing teacher, brain teasers, a workbook, and peer interaction.  These elements work together without ever putting people in the same room as one another.

If you already have a great class that you teach or a book that everyone says is “a good read”, you are that much closer to having a great elearning course.  If you have some awesome information that others would like to learn, but you shy away from singing in public, you can still convert your material to an interesting and compelling online course.  There are some wonderful people out there who create videos and animations for not that much money.  The main ingredient to a successful e-learning course is good information.  If you start with good information and add the right amount of spice to it, you have the perfect recipe for a great course,  which can support your clients, promote your products, and add a revenue stream to your business. In my next blogs I’ll be talking about what “spice” goes into a great e-learning course and how to choose authoring/creation tools for those elements.

No one sets out to teach a boring course.  Many of us have a deep-seated fear that no matter how polite they are to our face, our students think we’re dorks and snicker behind our backs.  But for businesses offering eLearning as  part of their product or service mix, it goes beyond emotions.  If you want your students to come back for more courses and recommend your training to others, it must be interesting.  If it isn’t, they’ll move on to your competitors.

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